Oilers appoint new marketing director

Jonathan Willis
August 21 2008 11:36AM

The Telegraph Journal is reporting today that the Oilers have made another hire with experience with Hockey Canada, bringing in new marketing director, Pat McLaughlin.

McLaughlin was hired by the Oilers Executive VP of Sales and Marketing, Stew MacDonald. MacDonald was the Chief Operating Officer of the Saint John’s Flames (evidently a good one too—he was named AHL Executive of the Year in 2001) while McLaughlin was the operations director of Atlantic Canada Centre of Excellence, a Canadian Hockey Association program that coordinated minor hockey in the Maritimes and worked in partnership with the Flames.

From the article:

MacDonald, now the executive vice-president of commercial operations for the Oilers, needed someone to fill the vacant role of director of marketing for the National Hockey League club. He initially called McLaughlin to inquire about potential candidates but the more they talked, the more MacDonald was convinced McLaughlin was a great choice—because of his first-hand knowledge of McLaughlin's ability. "When we recruit, there is skill set and there is also fit," said MacDonald. "We are really big on making sure the person has the skill set but also making sure they fit here so they are set up for success with the organization."

Here’s what McLaughlin’s resume looks like:

2001–2008: Director of Leadership & Organizational Development, JD Irving Ltd. JDI is a conglomerate company that is active in over half a dozen industries. They’re the largest forest industry concern in Atlantic Canada as well as Canada’s largest ship builder. In 2007 they surpassed the $1 billion mark in total sales and had around 4,000 employees. From the company website:

JD Irving Limited is committed to growing leaders and providing them with challenging and rewarding career opportunities. With a focus on creating an aligned and engaged workforce across various industries, JDI offers both internal and external competency based development tailored to individual needs. Our external partners are recognized as world-class, assisting us in creating one of the best leadership pipelines in the country. We partner with some of the top educational and training development schools in Canada who are considered to be "leaders in developing leaders".

1999–2001: Director of Marketing, Hockey Canada

????–1999: Operations Director, Atlantic Canada Centre of Excellence

Additionally, in McLaughlin’s previous work with Hockey Canada (based out of Calgary from 1999–2001), he likely (I’m speculating here) would have had contact with a whole bunch of national-level sponsors; contacts that should come in handy in his new position with the Oilers.

On the hockey side of things, the article mentions that McLaughlin has remained active on the east coast, “coaching, conducting courses or as a scout with the Saint John Sea Dogs.” He’s listed as a scout on the Sea Dogs website. St John’s finished 2007–08 tied with Halifax for the lead in the QMJHL’s East Division, but being slotted second due to fewer wins.

Pat McLaughlin looks like yet another solid hire for the Oilers front office.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Sean
August 21 2008, 02:09PM
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Well shit, I guess my 15 years playing EA Sports hockey doesnt qualify as experience.

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#2 Fiveandagame
August 21 2008, 02:46PM
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The Oilers haven't made a mistake in hiring since Ron Low...and maybe Lupul...Peca...CFP...but other than that they're gold!!! Or should I say silver, like lord stanley's cup!

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#3 The Towel Boy
August 21 2008, 08:05PM
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YESSSS!!!!

...sarcastic shouts of joy don't transfer over text very well.

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#4 David S
August 21 2008, 08:45PM
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Pfft! 2 whole years of marketing experience for a Director's position. The Oilers obviously don't have much respect for the profession.

Another example of an organization placing more value on who you know rather than what you know.

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#5 Fiveandagame
August 21 2008, 10:10PM
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David David David. It's ALL about who you know. Now you may think, it's friends hiring friends. But nosh on this nugget of knowledge. If you hire someone you know. You KNOW them, that means not only is their Job on the line with their performance, but also a personal friendship. There is much more at stake when you accept a job from a friend and you are going to work your ass off to make sure you don't disappoint them. Not only that but you also KNOW their families, wives, children, retired feeble Grandparents, and a team of hired goons (read Dave Semenko and Jeff Beukeboom) can drive a point home like no one else. I say hire only your best friends, and if they under achieve, string them up from the rafters of Rexall along with their entire gene pool.

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#6 Jonathan
August 21 2008, 10:34PM
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Pfft! 2 whole years of marketing experience for a Director’s position. The Oilers obviously don’t have much respect for the profession.

Not sure if you're being sarcastic or not, but I'm thinking the "organizational development" part of his title at JDI probably had a marketing connection.

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#7 charlie
August 21 2008, 11:41PM
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The job listing for this job was posted on the Oilers site for the last little while.

I, sadly, was not hired... probably because of my shovel-girl puck bunny demands.

...one day...

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#8 Fiveandagame
August 21 2008, 11:48PM
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Charlie, don't give up on those demands buddy. Stay the course, cause that always works out....I believe in a democratic and abundant world of shovel-girl puck bunnies!

On another note, If I see another one of the those RBC and freaking McDonalds commercials (with the ugliest kids in the world BTW) I am going to freak out, G.S Giguere style, cause those commercials are crowding my crease like #94's big nose.

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#9 Fiveandagame
August 21 2008, 11:50PM
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I really need training camp to start don't I?...Wow Wayne I think I could actually heard you answer that.

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#10 The Towel Boy
August 22 2008, 07:42AM
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Fiveandagame -

You need training camp to start...and you need one less can of Red Bull per day.

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#11 Fiveandagame
August 22 2008, 11:29AM
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Red Bulls?? No need for Red Bulls, I run purely on the excitement of the previous Oilers season until the puck drops in October. Cogliano's 3 consecutive overtime winners have me so loaded up, I could have made it through another lock out season!

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#12 David S
August 22 2008, 01:06PM
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"Not sure if you’re being sarcastic or not, but I’m thinking the “organizational development” part of his title at JDI probably had a marketing connection."

Jonathan, I love your hockey savvy and writing skills, but this time I wasn't being sarcastic.

God forbid the guy might have had at least 10 years of progressive MARKETING experience in a combined agency/client situation, with progressively larger client budgets and a supportable history of increasing revenues through various marketing-related activities he spearheaded.

Maybe two years of marketing experience and a smattering of generalist background is good enough at the Oilers for what's usually a senior position right below the VP of marketing and paying in excess of $100K.

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#13 Jonathan
August 22 2008, 01:20PM
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Maybe two years of marketing experience and a smattering of generalist background is good enough at the Oilers for what’s usually a senior position right below the VP of marketing and paying in excess of $100K.

Valid point. Still, by that logic, Hockey Canada was even dumber to put him in that position, yes?

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#14 David S
August 22 2008, 01:44PM
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Agreed Jonathan. I suppose things like this just go to show how fraternal the business of pro hockey really is. So I suppose the past hirings of the Oilers makes sense in this vein.

Its also probably the sense of grandeur we fans place on organizations like Hockey Canada. We imagine them to be located in gleaming marble-floored offices on the 45th floor overlooking the waterfront, where personal robots bring in the morning mail along with your first Starbucks of the day. The reality is more than likely quite dissapointing.

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#15 Holden
August 22 2008, 02:17PM
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David S is absolutely right. Any director of marketing should have no less than 10 years experience, and at least SOME of that should be on big brands (yes, even bigger than two years at Hockey Canada). A wrong-headed hire on all accounts.

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#16 Jonathan
August 22 2008, 04:00PM
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It occurs to me that McLaughlin is in his mid-forties, so it's entirely possible that he's had marketing experience prior to 1998. I'm not saying he has, but we are working with incomplete data.

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#17 Dennis
August 22 2008, 04:47PM
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Pretty decent move for that guy's family; outside of the constant fear of stabbings, I mean.

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#18 David S
August 22 2008, 09:37PM
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I'd be willing to bet that Edmonton Airports has a bigger marketing budget than Hockey Canada.

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#19 David S
August 23 2008, 02:46AM
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OK. So I'll take that back. Hockey Canada has an operating budget of about $53 million (07), with a marketing budget of about 3.2% of that, putting it at about $1.7m. Still, that's not exactly Procter and Gamble territory. About 10% of Shaw Cable if I remember correctly.

Regardless, I maintain that McLaughlin is woefully underqualified for the position. Unless being a "hockey guy" with a base knowledge of marketing was the goal of the hire.

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#20 East Coaster
August 23 2008, 08:36PM
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Does it matter to any of you that McLaughlin had free agent tryouts with Calgary and Boston as a goaltender and he secured Hockey Canada's sponsorship deal with Nike? Probably not. I don't know him, but I've followed his career since he was a puckstopping whiz at the Canadian university level. We former Cape Breton Oiler fans still follow the Big Oil and we salute McLaughlin for moving to the organization. Give him a break and stop moaning. Working a high level job in the Irving empire is nothing to sneeze at, thanks.

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#21 David S
August 23 2008, 09:13PM
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It would probably matter alot more if we hired a goaltending coach. And Nike? You must mean the guys who would put swoosh logos on pigeons if they could get away with it. That must have been a tough 30 second phone call.

Hey look. Good on the guy for walking into a good job upgrade. I hope he hits it outta the park. I hope the same for Kelly Buchberger too.

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